“Hasn’t been through initiation rites” (Video)
Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the house says the Establishment see’s Donald Trump as a threat because, “He’s an outsider. He’s not part of the club. He’s uncontrollable. Hasn’t been through the initiation rites. He didn’t belong to the secret society.” Media analyst Mark Dice explains the implications of this startling revelation.
In many ways, the Pine Bush UFO Festival is like any other small town street fair: people sell fried dough from plywood stands, kids hand-dip candles, and couples sway their hips to a cover band’s rendition of “Hey Jealousy.” The difference, though, is that the tables filled with handmade jewelry and handouts from the local rotary clubs are interspersed with offerings of a different kind: tarot card readings, healing crystals, and enough alien kitsch to fill a black hole.
Known among locals as “the Roswell of the East Coast,” Pine Bush has a long history as a hotbed for extraterrestrial activity. Residents of the town, located about two hours north of the city, have been logging reports of bizarre sightings since the early 1900s, though things really took off, so to speak, between the ‘50s and ‘90s.
Hundreds of witnesses claim to have seen everything from boomerang-shaped objects shooting through the sky to strobe lights flashing in the hamlet’s formerly wooded areas. Sightings curtailed sharply in the late ‘90s thanks to rampant development in the open spaces, but by then it hardly mattered: Pine Bush’s reputation as an extraterrestrial salt lick had been firmly cemented for decades.
These days, believers and non-believers alike are happy to capitalize on the alien aesthetic. Locals chow down at the Cup and Saucer, a roadside diner with a sign featuring a spaceship beaming up a mug of coffee.
At a cafe called “All Things Delicious,” owner Kirsten Drossell peeks from behind a strand of Martian bunting. She tells me that local businesses—hers included—try to stay on brand with whatever the rest of the town is up to, whether it’s a season, holiday or, in this case, festival dedicated to space invaders.
“I think it’s good for small businesses to say, ‘Yep, this is what we’re doing today,’” she said, gesturing toward a case filled with dyed green confections. “So these all come down tomorrow. The green cream puffs are only for today.”
I asked her whether she believes that aliens have a particular affinity for Pine Bush. “I really don’t decide one way or the other,” she said. “Yeah, stuff may be out there. And maybe it’s not.”
One of the most striking elements of the UFO Fest is the genuine, almost academic approach to considering extraterrestrial life, contrasted sharply with the blatantly absurd—the tinfoil hats, the Mulder/Scully 2016 t-shirts, the bug-eyed alien tchotchkes teeming from everywhere. The event was capped off with the shortest but most enthusiastic parade I have ever seen, with a handful of local businesses going all out on their floats, the same ones they’ve surely dusted off since the festival’s inception six years ago.
A set of Stormtroopers wandered up and down the street, posing for photos with kids clutching life-sized inflatable aliens. Captivating snippets of conversation drifted through the air: ”If evolution is true, there are about 20 missing links,” I heard a guy in mirrored sunglasses say. “If Jesus came down right now, he’d be arrested,” said another.
William Wiand, a ponytailed man wearing a t-shirt tucked into his pressed cerulean jeans, was taking questions underneath a large tent. As a lifelong “experiencer,” he was one of the festival’s marquee speakers, and his presentation had just concluded as I sidled into a metal folding chair.
On the drive to Pine Bush, I couldn’t help but notice the number of “Trump for President” yard signs dotting meticulous, rolling lawns—the candidate won Orange County by more than 50 percentage points. Given Trump’s disdain for outsiders, I wondered how warm a reception aliens could realistically expect from a group intent on building a wall at the Mexican border.